Karachi:Pakistan team suffered a major blow after experienced leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was rendered doubtful for the first Test against Australia in Melbourne due to a fresh finger injury.
Kaneria, who had undergone an operation on the finger of his bowling hand few months back, got struck on the same finger during the team's training session on Thursday.
"He got hit on the same finger which was operated upon some time ago. He is feeling great pain and is unable to move his bowling hand freely," Pakistan team manager, Abdul Raquib said.
Raquib said Kaneria would have further examination by a specialist on Friday who would decide if he can play the first Test from Saturday.
"But at the moment he looks to be a doubtful starter because it is his bowling hand that has got injured," Raquib added.
Kaneria was Pakistan's top bowler alongside Muhammad Asif in the recently concluded Test series in New Zealand taking 13 wickets in two matches and helping Pakistan win the second Test in Wellington.
Pakistan captain Muhammad Yousuf said that the injury to Kaneria was a big setback to Pakistan's preparations for the Test.
"Let us see what happens tomorrow but we still have the option of playing another specialist spinner in Saeed Ajmal," Raquib said.
Ironically the day Kaneria suffered the injury, leg spinning allrounder Shahid Afridi also left for Perth to play for South Australia in the Australian domestic Twenty20 Big Bash tournament.
"If Kaneria is advised rest for a period of three to four weeks then there is every possibility the tour selectors might consider asking Afridi to join the national team in Australia before the one-day series," the source said.
The Pakistan team has been banking heavily on Kaneria doing well in Australia in the Tests due to his recent good bowling form and wicket taking abilities.